Advocates for War: America's Corporate Think Tanks -- Part 2
October 15, 2013
Public Accountability Initiative
During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances to argued for military intervention. Hadley's audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, a company that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles. A study reveals how the media's warhawks stand to benefit from the wars they eagerly encourage.
Part II. Think Tanks
Industry Ties: Brookings is an influential research and policy think tank that works in many major policy areas, including defense and foreign policy. In its most recent annual report Brooking's corporate donors include some prominent names in the defense industry.100 The bulleted points below give the donation level and each defense industry contractor that gave at that level.
* $1-2.5 million: Booz Allen Hamilton
* $500 thousand - $1 million: Qualcomm Inc.
* $50 -- 100 thousand: Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Palantir Technologies
In addition to organizational funding, Brookings has several industry-connected individuals in its ranks. David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO at the Carlyle Group, the majority shareholder of Booz Allen Hamilton and the company responsible for taking the firm public in 2010, is co-chair of Brookings' board of trustees.
He also made a personal contribution at the $1-2.5 million level, according to the 2012 annual report.101 Another Brookings trustee, Ken Duberstein, is a director of Boeing, the second largest defense contractor in the United States. 102, 103
Brookings employs Booz Allen Hamilton vice president and senior fellow, Ronald Sanders as adjunct faculty. 104 Sanders also chairs Brookings' Executive Education's Advisory Council, most recently heading up a Brookings event entitled "Enterprise Leadership: The Essential Framework for Today's Government Leaders," which featured Booz Allen senior vice president Admiral Thad Allen as keynote speaker. 105, 106
Syria commentary: The Brookings Institution's commentary on intervention in Syria was cited in 31 articles. Though largely logistical and focused on analysis of the President's response and effects of Congressional involvement, some analysts weighed in on intervention specifically, advocating missile strikes and offering public relations pointers.
Michael O'Hanlon, national security analyst at Brookings, urged a comparison between the hypothetical Syria intervention and President Clinton's punitive missile strikes against Iraq on NPR, saying that the operation would be "small scale" and "over as soon as it's begun":
Michael O'Hanlon, a national security analyst at The Brookings Institution, said that for all the contrasts with the 2003 Iraq invasion, the more apt comparison in Syria is with missile strikes ordered against Iraq by President Bill Clinton, including strikes in 1998 to punish Saddam for not complying with U.N. chemical weapons inspections.
"I'm surprised this administration doesn't make that analogy," O'Hanlon said. "This operation is going to be limited. It's going to be small scale or medium scale and it's going to be over as soon as it's begun practically. We're going to hear about the beginning, middle and end of it all in one Pentagon briefing, more or less." 107
Ken Pollack, senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, drew a comparison between intervention in Syria and the (positively viewed) US intervention in Kosovo in the late 1990s, also on NPR, implying that opposition to intervention is largely due to bad public relations:
One path may be persuading NATO to get involved or even lead any military action. That helped the Clinton administration cast a frame of legitimacy on the Kosovo war in the late 1990s even though the Security Council, with Russia firmly opposed, never sanctioned the bombing campaign against Belgrade, said Ken Pollack, an expert on Middle Eastern political-military affairs at the Brookings Institute.
"Very famously, the Kosovo war was not legal," Pollack said. "Yet . . . you don't have people running around screaming that the Kosovo war was illegal. That is because the US did a good job of building a case for it." 108
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Industry Ties: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is an established foreign policy think tank with a long roster of corporate executives and government officials serving as trustees  and counselors. 110 CSIS has more defense industry connected advisors than most think tanks, including at its highest level of leadership: its president and CEO, John J Hamre, serves as a director for defense contractor SAIC. 111
* CSIS trustee James McNerney is president, CEO, and chairman of the board at Boeing. 112
* CSIS senior advisor Margaret Sidney Ashworth is the corporate vice president for government relations at Northrop Grumman and former Raytheon lobbyist. 113
* CSIS Advisory Board member Thomas Culligan is senior vice president at Raytheon. 114
* CSIS Advisory Board member Gregory Dahlberg is senior vice president of Washington operations at Lockheed Martin. 115
* CSIS Advisory Board member Timothy Keating is senior vice president of public policy at Boeing. 116
* CSIS Roundtable member Gregory Gallopoulos is senior vice president, general counsel and secretary at General Dynamics. 117
* CSIS trustee Ray L Hunt is a former Halliburton director. 118
* Trustee James L Jones is a former director of General Dynamics and Boeing. 119
Syria Commentary: CSIS' experts were cited in 30 articles on intervention in Syria, often advocating for greater military action than the target strikes being considered by Secretary Kerry.
Anthony Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy for CSIS and a former national security assistant to Senator John McCain said limited strikes would be "pointless":
Others said that Mr. Obama needs to go beyond cruise-missile strikes. "Simply taking reprisal action to say ‘We mean it' does not strike me as significant meaningful action," said Anthony Cordesman, a longtime military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's a pointless punitive military exercise." 120
In another article Cordesman said that the planned strikes would cause "lasting" damage to Assad:
Defense analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said if successful, hitting fixed targets would eliminate key assets to Assad that "can't easily be replaced, like command and control facilities, major headquarters."
"These are lasting targets," Cordesman said. 121
In yet another article Cordesman said that the limited strikes would send a message of weakness and hypothetically incentivize similar regimes to use nuclear weapons:
"If anything, the message of a narrowly focused US strike could be just the opposite of what the US intends," says Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"To the world's worst regimes, the unintended message of limited strikes that leave their governments intact may be that that if you are going to use such weapons, use them decisively enough to make any international action worth the cost," he adds. "Worse, such actions may lead regimes to question the utility of using weapons with limited value in deterring international intervention, like chemical weapons. Instead, they may be incentivized to go nuclear, go cyber, or support violent non-state actors." 122
Institute for the Study of War
Industry ties: The Institute for War Studies' close connection to defense contractors is well documented. ISW Founder and President Kimberly Kagan was criticized in a December 2012 Washington Post article for "pro bono" advisory services she and her husband provided to General Petraeus. 123
The article noted that Kagan's proximity to the general "provided an incentive for defense contractors to contribute" to her think tank and "during Petraeus's tenure in Kabul, she sent out a letter soliciting contributions so the organization could continue its military work." Most telling of how the deep ties between ISW and the defense industry are bolstered is the following anecdote from the Washington Post, describing their 2011 dinner honoring Petraeus:
At the August 2011 dinner honoring Petraeus, Kagan thanked executives from two defense contractors who sit on her institute's corporate council, DynCorp International and CACI International. The event was sponsored by General Dynamics. All three firms have business interests in the Afghan war.
Kagan told the audience that their funding allowed her to assist Petraeus. "The ability to have a 15-month deployment essentially in the service of those who needed some help -- and the ability to go at a moment's notice -- that's something you all have sponsored," she said.
She called her work for him "an extraordinary and special occasion."
After accepting the award, Petraeus heaped praise on the institute.
"Thanks to all of you for supporting an organization that General Keane very accurately described as filling a niche -- a very, very important one," he said. "It's now a deployable organization. We're going to start issuing them combat service stripes."
ISW's Corporate Council is a "Who's Who" of the defense industry and includes Raytheon, SAIC, Palantir, General Dynamics, CACI, Northrop Grumman, DynCorp, and L-3 Communication.124 Raytheon, of course, is the manufacturer of the Tomahawk cruise missile, widely understood as the weapon of choice for the proposed strike and the featured armament in Harmer's ISW study.
Syria commentary: The Institute for the Study of War was cited in 22 articles on intervention. The message from analysts from the ISW focused on quelling the notion that the opposition forces, which stood to gain from a US intervention, are extremists and argued in favor of immediate strikes over waiting for Congress.
Christopher Harmer, a senior naval analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Institute for the Study of War, released a widely circulated study on the use of Tomahawk missiles for a "surgical" strike against Assad. The study was touted by Sen. John McCain as proof that limited strikes were a viable intervention strategy. (From Foreign Policy):
In July, Harmer authored a widely-circulated study showing how the US could degrade key Syrian military installations on the cheap with virtually no risk to US personnel. "It could be done quickly, easily, with no risk whatsoever to American personnel, and a relatively minor cost," said Harmer. One of the study's proposals was cruise missile strikes from what are known as TLAMs (Tomahawk land attack missiles) fired from naval vessels in the Mediterranean. 125
In addition to advocating for intervention, Harmer was critical of any delay in the strikes. From Bloomberg:
While a delay doesn't present "insurmountable difficulty" for the US, Assad will benefit from time to prepare for an attack, said Christopher Harmer, an analyst with the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War who follows the Syrian military.
The decision to wait for a vote in Congress lets Assad disperse his forces and equipment and allows Syria's ally, Russia, to reposition some of its Black Sea fleet into the Mediterranean, Harmer said. It also provides Assad a "considerable psychological advantage within Syria," he said.
"It strains credibility to assert that the effect of delaying action is positive for the US and negative for the Assad regime," Harmer said in an e-mail. 126
Prior to her dismissal from ISW for lying about holding a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, Elizabeth O'Bagy, who also worked for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, was quoted in several articles supporting intervention and arguing that opposition forces were not linked to extremists groups as feared. Her articles were influential enough to be quoted by Secretary Kerry. From Reuters:
Kerry cited an article by Elizabeth O'Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War think tank, in which she wrote that Islamic extremist factions are not "spearheading the fight against the Syrian government," but rather that the struggle is b eing led by "moderate opposition forces."127
Council on Foreign Relations
Industry ties: The Council on Foreign Relations claims over 4,700 members and boasts many celebrity and high profile members among those ranks including Brian Williams, Fareed Zakaria, Angelina Jolie, Chuck Hagel, and Erin Burnett. 128 Its prominence lends it a gravitas that obscures substantial conflicts of interest.
CFR has a robust corporate membership  program that includes many of the top companies in the defense industry including Booz Allen Hamilton, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Palantir. Each company paid between $30,000 and $100,000 for varying levels of access to CFR's experts and directors.
CFR's board members include many individuals with defense industry ties, such as R. Nicholas Burns (profiled above), Ann Fudge, a director of General Electric, and Donna J. Hrinak, an executive at Boeing. The vice chairman of CFR's board of directors is David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of top Booz Allen shareholder the Carlyle Group.
Individual memberships are similarly stocked with defense industry insiders. CFR members Thad Allen and Tom Moorman are Booz Allen Hamilton executives, while members Robert Millard and John P White are Directors at L-3 Communication. CFR member Norman Augustine was the chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin.
Syria commentary: CFR's analysts and experts were cited in 19 articles on intervention in Syria. Much of CFR's pro-intervention commentary came from CFR President Richard Haass130 who advocated directly arming the Syrian opposition in addition to the proposed limited strikes:
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said providing "significant" arms to the rebels would be the best way to help shape the battlefield and influence the outcome in Syria.
"I think the strikes are in a narrow way successful by simply occurring," Haass said. "It shows that you cannot use these weapons and get off scot-free," said Haass. "If the Syrians continue to slaughter -- as I believe they probably would -- their fellow citizens as the civil war continues, then the United States has other means rather than direct military participation to counter that. And that's where I have been arguing, will continue to argue, for serious arming of the opposition." 131
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, CFR senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies Robert Danin called for a military commitment that would "send a message to Assad":
But if the Obama administration wants to send a message to Assad that he accurately understands, the United States must provide not only a credible response to his recent use of chemical weapons but also make him believe that response is part of a larger strategy to compel him to stop slaughtering his own people -- by any means.
Such an approach would require a US commitment to doing more than limited strikes against facilities related to chemical weapons. But it is the only message Assad will understand. 132
American Enterprise Institute
Industry ties: The American Enterprise Institute does not disclose its corporate donor base but its trustees and fellows have significant ties to the defense industry.
* Trustee Daniel D'Aniello is co-founder and Chairman of the Carlyle Group, the majority shareholder of Booz Allen Hamilton. 133
* Trustee John Faraci sits on the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation, an aerospace and aviation manufacturing company. 134
* Trustee Dick Cheney is the former Vice President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton, and a famed Washington, DC hawk. 135
* Senior Fellow Thomas Donnelly was the director of strategic communications and initiatives for Lockheed Martin. 136
* Fred Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project , is the husband of ISW director Kim Kagan. Both were criticized in the Washington Post for "pro bono" senior advisory work to General Petraeus. 138
Syria commentary: Individuals associated with the American Enterprise Institute were cited in 15 articles on intervention in Syria.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed former Senators Lieberman and Kyl, co-chairmen of the American Enterprise Institute's American Internationalism Project, derided inaction in Syria as detrimental to national security, a betrayal of US allies in the region, and an ominous "green-light" for Iran and Putin:
But none of this should blind us from a larger truth: Regardless of how we got here, failure to authorize military force against Assad now will have far-reaching and profoundly harmful consequences for American national security.
This is no longer just about the conflict in Syria or even the Middle East. It is about American credibility. Are we a country that our friends can trust and our enemies fear? Or are we perceived as a divided and dysfunctional superpower in retreat, whose words and warnings are no longer meaningful? 139
This doomsday scenario of "green-lighting" the hypothetical ambitions of Iran and North Korea was echoed by AEI scholar Michael Rubin in comments to the Associated Press:
"President Obama issued those words -- red line -- a little more than a year ago," said Rubin. "If you draw a line in the sand and you allow your opponent to cross, then that's not an issue of confidence only in Syria, but that's something the North Koreans will be watching, the Iranians will be watching and potentially other rogues around the globes will be watching. So the whole idea of a symbolic strike is to say ‘you can't cross the line.'" 140
Industry ties: Supporters of the Atlantic Council are grouped into sponsor circles of increasing access depending on the financial commitment to the organization. Donors giving less than $25,000 are designated as "Other Supporters":
* Global Leaders Circle ($100,000+): SAIC, EADS, Lockheed Martin
* Chairman's Circle ($50,000+): Raytheon
* President's Circle ($25,000+): Boeing
* Other Supporters: General Dynamics, Northrop 141
In addition to direct support from defense industry contractors, the Atlantic Council maintains its own stable of connected directors and advisors:
* Former National Security Advisor Stephen J Hadley, profiled above, is a director for the Atlantic Council and a director at Raytheon. 142
* Director James Cartwright, also profiled above, is also a director for Raytheon and an advisor for TASC. 143
* Advisor Robert J Stevens is the former CEO and currently serving as chairman of Lockheed Martin. 144
* Advisor General John Jumper was the CEO and Chairman of SAIC until September 27, 2013, when the company split off its national security, health, and engineering businesses as a new public company called Leidos. Jumper now serves as the CEO and Chairman of Leidos. 145, 146
* Director Thomas M Culligan is senior vice president for Raytheon. 147
* Director Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr serves as a director for Boeing. 148
* Atlantic Council Chairman James L Jones was formerly a director for Boeing and General Dynamics. 149
Syria commentary: Analysts with the Atlantic Council were cited in 14 articles on intervention in Syria.
Frederic C Hof, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, wrote that limited, symbolic strikes were worse than doing nothing and mused on the image of American weakness portrayed in such an intervention scenario in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor:
On the other hand, if the attack is limited in scope and duration, it could send entirely the wrong signal to the Assad regime.
"The more limited and symbolic it is the more disastrous it would be for the US and its partners . . . . It would be worse than doing nothing," says Frederic C. Hof, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East who previously served as the Obama administration's liaison with the Syrian opposition.
"It would only confirm Assad's view that it is safe to walk up to the president of the United States and slap him in the face, as appears to have been the case in this most recent incident," he adds, in reference to last week's chemical attack, believed to be the deadliest single poison gas attack in quarter of a century. 150
Center for American Progress
Industry ties: Although considered dovish by defense policy standards, the Center for American Progress' business alliance and analysts have ties to large defense contractors.
CAP's business alliance was revealed in a Nation article that exposed its undisclosed corporate donors. Among these donors were two of the biggest names in the defense industry, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. 151
These ties extend into their roster of experts. CAP's senior vice president for national security and international policy, Rudy de Leon, was senior vice president of Boeing; CAP senior fellow Scott Lilly was a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. Several senior staff at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a commercial diplomacy firm, have ties to CAP, including Madeleine Albright and Carol Browner, both board members, and Brian Katulis and Richard Verma, both senior fellows with a national security focus. Former Raytheon and SAIC director John Deutch is a CAP trustee.
Syria commentary: The Center for American Progress was the least cited of the think tanks profiled, appearing in 13 articles on intervention in Syria.
Larry Korb, a former Pentagon official and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said that intervention would be a foregone conclusion if not for the looming shadow of Iraq. From AFP:
"It's the elephant in the room," said Larry Korb, a former Pentagon official and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "Had we not had the Iraq war, there would be no real question here," he said, suggesting that proposed strikes on Syria would have been "approved overwhelmingly" by Congress. 152
In addition to providing their own commentary, the Center for American Progress provided a platform for UN Ambassador Samantha Power to promote military strikes as the sole available strategy to avoid green-lighting future atrocities. From the New York Times:
Warning that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has barely put a dent in his chemical weapons stockpile, President Obama's new envoy to the United Nations said on Friday that a failure to intervene in Syria would "give a green light to outrages that will threaten our security and haunt our conscience" for decades to come.
"We have exhausted the alternatives," Ms. Power said. "For more than a year, we have pursued countless policy tools short of military force to try to dissuade Assad." 153
The "green-lighting" narrative was echoed by other commentators and think tanks including conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
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46 "Roger Cressey", Greater Talent Network. Accessed at: http://www.greatertalent.com/rogercressey/
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64 Piers Morgan, "Interview with John McCain; What Should the US Do in Syria?" CNN (August 9 2013) http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1308/29/pmt.01.html
65 "Colin H. Kahl" curriculum vitae. Accessed at: http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/chk34/
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71 "John M. Keane," General Dyamanics Accessed at: http://investorrelations.gd.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=85778&p=irol-govBio&ID=161819
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78 Jeff Blumenthal, "Patrick Murphy Following Up Congress with Fox Rothschild Job", Philadelphia Business Journal (January 3 2013). Accessed at: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/jeff-blumenthal/2011/01/patrick-murphy-following-up-congress.html?page=all
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80 Otis Bilodeau, "Madeleine Albright Raises $329 Million for New Fund(Update 4)", Bl oomberg (January 18 2007). Accessed at: http:/www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aU1Dya07Rrr8
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86 "Our Team, Why We're Different", Willowdale Services. Accessed at: http://willowdaleservices.com/our-team-why-were-different.html
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89 "Chuck Nash", LittleSis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/131035/Chuck_Nash
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124 "Corporate Council", Institute for the Study of War. Accessed at: http://www.understandingwar.org/our-supporters
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138 Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Civilian analysts gained Petraeus's ear while he was commander in Afghanistan', Washington Post (December 18, 2012). Accessed at: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-18/world/35907960_1_petraeus-paula-broadwell-afghan-war
139 Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, "Inaction in Syria Threatens US Security", Wall Street Journal (September 5, 2013). Accessed at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324432404579053661192848056.html
140 Associated Press, "US plans for missile strike against Syria as questions swirl about the endgame", Fox News (August 27, 2013). Accessed at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/27/us-plans-for-missile-strikes-against-syria-as-questions-swirl-about-endgame/
141 "Supporters", Atlantic Council. Accessed at: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/support/supporters
142 "Stephen J Hadley", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/60272/Stephen_J_Hadley
143 "General James Cartwright", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/81719/General_James_Cartwright
144 "Robert J Stevens", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/1931/Robert_J_Stevens
145 "General John P Jumper", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/4871/General_John_P_Jumper
146 Joann S. Lublin, "Defense Contractor SAIC Set to Divide Mission With Spinoff", The Wall Street Journal (September 10, 2013). Accessed at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323864604579067353151539122
Interestingly, Jumper explains SAIC's decision to spin-off Leidos in terms of conflicts of interest: "Our services and solutions businesses are both highly involved in government. The solutions side is also about a $2-billion commercial health, environment and energy business. Over time, we came up against serious conflicts of interest. If services side people were giving technical assistance to government agencies, you couldn't bid on providing solutions after being part of proposing them."
147 "Thomas M Culligan", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/119819/Thomas_M_Culligan
148 "Edmund P Giambastiani Jr", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/59767/Edmund_P_Giambastiani_Jr
149 "James L Jones", Littlesis.org. Accessed at: http://littlesis.org/person/1061/James_L_Jones
150 Nicholas Blanford, "How a US Strike on Syria on Syria Might Play Out", The Christian Science Monitor (August 28, 2013). Accessed at: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0828/How-a-US-strike-on-Syria-might-play-out
151 Ken Silverstein, "The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress and Other Think Tanks", The Nation (June 10, 2013). Accessed at: http://www.thenation.com/article/174437/secret-donors-behind-center-american-progress-and-other-think-tanks?page=0,1#
152 "Iraq war debacle haunts US debate on Syria", Agence France-Presse (September 9, 2013). Accessed at: http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/iraq-war-debacle-haunts-us-debate-syria/
153 Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Envoy Says Syria Inaction Would Give Green Light to Outrages", New York Times (September 6, 2013). Accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/07/world/middleeast/power-says-syria-inaction-would-give-green-light-to-outrages.html
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